February 12, 2006

Walking The Tightrope Of Life

Filed under: Of men women and Eunuchs,Relationships,Suicides murder women,This Gets To Me — Kaveeta Oberoi Kaul @ 2:49 pm

Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy. All the rest–whether or not the world has three dimensions, whether the mind has nine or twelve categories–comes afterward. These are games; one must first answer.” -Albert Camus

When one awakes in the morning, opens the papers, and is startled by the news of the suicide of a co-actor, then after the initial despair, outrage,helplessness, what comes to mind is the saying which I have quoted above.

Read news clipping;

“Popular television actress and model Kuljeet Randhawa has hanged herself in her Mumbai apartment, saying she couldn’t cope with life’s pressures any more.

Randhawa, 30, took the extreme step at her home in Juhu, a western suburb of Mumbai, police said.

A maid found her body on Wednesday night and alerted police.

In a suicide note, Kuljeet said she was ending her life, as she was unable to cope with life’s pressures, police said.

Known for her role in serials like Kohinoor and Special Squad, Randhawa was a well-known face in the advertisement world and had acted in several commercials for companies like Pepsi and Whirlpool.

In Kohinoor, she played the character of Irawati Kohli, who has a doctorate in ancient history and archaeology with a special leaning towards India.

Randhawa’s suicide has brought back memories of the suicide by model turned VJ Nafisa Joseph in 2004.”


At the news of Nafisas death , a sea of questions arose furiously in ones mind.Since I never had the chance to interact with her, no answers were forthcoming, except what the newspapers afforded. But I had worked with Kuljeet professionally. So the shock and confusion was manifold. We had been on an outdoor together in Goa, a couple of years back. That was my last meeting with her. She came across as a woman of today, in control of her life, confident and a go-getter.In other words the last person I could have imagined being thus outdone by the vagaries of life. So sad and incomprehensible.

Many conflicting thoughts and desperate need for solutions is what I am flummoxed with. What a waste of a beautiful life of a stunning personality !!Why?

What is apparent from her suicide note and from information garnered are few facts;
a)She was under stress and in pain b)She was unable to cope with that pain c)She was lonely d)All she ‘wanted was to be happy’.What is also glaring is that a few myths/misconceptions of the glamour and glitzy world have been shattered. A relationship gone awry is as impactful, loneliness is more pronounced, vulnerability to pain is as excruciating , if not more, coping with the ‘inner demons’ is independent of outward display of strength and confidence.

None of the above seem reason enough to end our lives to you and me and to a whole lot of commenters who have been almost brutal in the forthrightness of their views about her action, terming her as a ‘loser’, ‘quitter’ and other such unsavoury ‘tributes’. What may seem inane to one may in fact be the ‘elixir’ for another. Coping mechanisms differ, connotation of pain varies, denotation of loneliness can be a thesis and the elusive “happiness” is ofcourse the bait for all suffering as well as the fulcrum of the cycle of birth and death. It defies simple solutions. “It is so simple to be happy,but so difficult to be simple”. I have known very few who profess to have mastered the art.Those who do have the answers are never going to return from their realms of bliss to really exemplify.

This brings me to the sphere of Philosophy. It normally beckons when we have reached the end of our ‘ropes’.To my mind, therein lies the key to this treasure. A life oriented towards going beyond the mundane..Setting the bar higher for ourselves as individuals. A desire to overcome ‘desire, in the conventional use of the term. The need not to take ‘your needs’ seriously. Finding happiness in knowing one has not yet discovered it, defy its dominance by shrugging your shoulders and walking away from its delusional sense of completeness. One tends to grieve at the purposelessness of relationships, fame, glamour, success and life in general. It is true. There is no meaning. If only we concentrated on finding the purpose behind this apparent ‘purposelessness’, make sense of it and free ourselves from the cry of our souls forever.Fix our gaze on the unblinking revelation of the faulty and specious premises on which we base our lives and our personal identity.

I cannot overlook a gnawing restlessness however,which I have been experiencing. Are we as a society, not afflicted with “compassion fatigue’? Do we offer solace to individuals thirsting for help to overcome their fear of loneliness? After all, suicides are a modern day phenomenon comparatively. We may have reached the moon but are we there for our neighbours? We tend to offer lip-service to tales of woe and escape as quickly as possible to our nests of peace or alternatively to nurse our wounds. Kuljeet has sounded a clarion call for us to pause and think. Is it a mere coincidence that Marilyn Monroe, in the past, Nafisa, silk Smitha(South) Kuljeet and others like them, all well renowned and glamorous women, choose to end their lives? Have they been treated as sex objects and therefore felt rebuked and repulsed by life? Do we need to modify our mindset towards these artificial trappings and see the soul within? I think we do.We need to summon the latent goodness inherent and bring it to the fore. Me, you, all of us, have to reassess ourselves as people. Social animals living in a society and therefore entrusted with responsibility to be a source of strength and empathy, does this definition fit the bill?

On speaking to friends, I was told that she had in fact made a dozen or more calls before finally resigning herself to an unknown destination. It stands to reason that all the known addresses failed to sense/respond to her agony and despair. All suicides basically stem from a need for revenge or attention. Either way, we all have to look within and honestly gage how we may have advertently or not, incited the Kuldeeps in our vicinity to bid adieu, because our sensitivity has not been appropriately honed to attuning ourselves to that cry of anguish which may have saved a life.

In a scenario where the compulsions of the mind are beyond comprehension, as parents all we can endeavour to do is bear the onus of slowly metamorphing our children to become philosophers before we make them engineers, doctors, or professionals. Life and its challenges need to be dealt with a ‘sattvik’ mind, with clarity and sanity.I think parents have somehow neglected inculcating the dissection of what is really true and what is merely the accidental result of flawed reasoning through well intentioned but misguided teaching.The really worthwhile things are virtuous activities that make up a happy life.Let us pledge to lead by example.

I cannot resist adding these few lines publicly to Kuldeep. “I wish we had been friends. I regret that I was not there holding your hand and giving you a warm hug, when you needed it the most. If only I could have urged you to see that hope is the panacea for all ills,and that there is a plan unknown to you, waiting to envelop you in its peace. But since none of this took place, I would like to add “The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference”. We are not indifferent to your pain kuljeet. You did your best in trying to be happy..


  1. Temporal, I went to the link.What a disturbing ,inglorious end!! It pains me to even think of the circumstances that might have led to it.. Dont you feel all this is avoidable? What does it cost any of us to be caring, loving, giving individuals? Kuljeet, even after her death got such a raw deal from the press, I was appalled.She was a pulsating, vivacious young woman. It would have been a pity had I not done my bit in presenting her the way she deserved to be. How can we ignore these occurrences as if they have no bearing on us as a people and a society? In a world where there are organisations as PETA(People for Ethical Treatment of Animals),human lives are to be dismissed as non-events? We are then not worthy of considering ourselves a species even worth reckoning.


    These are the queries that sensitive folks struggle with every day of their life.

    These are the dichotomies of life and living.

    Here in the West some folks care more for their pets then their children. Here also some lives are more important than others. A gunning down of a cop or a security guard merits more column inches on page 1 or 2 of the local newspapers. While twenty dead in Europe is a page 2 or 3 news item. And a few hundred killed in a train mishap or flood in India merits less coverage. And African dead even less.

    The political human (and seemingly humane) face of the West is wrinkled and blemished. It is laden with double standards and dichotomies. It is an enigmatic conundrum when it places a value on human life.

    There is a price on human life as seen through the Western prism. The Americans are at the top of this totem pole followed by Western Europe and the RoW (rest of the world) is lower then them. No wonder they practice discrimination and duplicity of the highest order when in all but official practice they treat one US or Western life as worth many time more than the lives of others.

    The idealists and the poets in RoW live in a dreamland that is not shared by the West.

    The US is the new brahman in the world pecking order. The family pet’s life is more important that person living in that unpronounced/mispronounced country.

    Sorry Kaveetaa…I was going to complete this and post it as an article…tying in this perspective on human life from a country’s p-o-v to an individual’s perspective and then tie them in with the individual that we have been talking of…the suicidal person and the value s/he attached to his/her life.

    But I feel I cannot do this at this stage. Why?

    I was looking for some things I have written on this subject. And came across this On Life and Death, particularly the three paragraphs in the conversation with the self

    I have expressed it there much better.

    Maybe another time I will finish this chain of thought.

    Comment by temporal — February 15, 2006 @ 3:44 am | Reply

  2. Hi kaveeta i have been follwing your posts rather regularly now though had reached this post while searching on blogs on kuljeet…
    i wanted to write a long comment here but thought it better to write my own post …please check my blog when you can…

    Comment by silbil — February 21, 2006 @ 11:46 am | Reply

  3. Hi Silbil,

    I visited your blog and was touched to read how you have resonated with the pain here. The sooner we embark on a journey where we sensitize to the angst of others, the closer we will be to perhaps creating a world of Love and caring, so lacking today.

    Comment by Kaveetaa Kaul — February 25, 2006 @ 4:05 pm | Reply

  4. ass parade
    6 Stencehic

    Comment by chuvisyahooey — December 22, 2007 @ 5:59 pm | Reply

  5. I’ve been a huge fan of Kuljeet all through this while… Her suicide is something that haunted me for very very long… and does so even today… when she died 3 yrs ago, i felt like i lost someone very close to my heart and my life, although it sounds silly i know, since i did not even know her personally, but i was crazy about her… and so shattered by what she did. in the weeks that followed in college, i stayed away from discussions on suicide… and especially her death… as all my friends and classmates usually termed her as you said here… ‘a loser’. i couldn’t stand it. the woman i had seen playing such diverse and strong-headed characters with a never-say-die attitude could not be belittled this way…
    kaveeta, reading ur article stirred a lot of emotions in me… even though i never knew her, when she died, i wish i did, i wish i was her friend too, to hold her hand, to hug her and tell her that if no one else, i would be there for her, and life will be better one day… if only, in that one moment that she decided to end it all, someone had reassured her that this is not the end… i know she would have stayed, and been happier!
    when i watch the repet telecasts of ‘special squad’ religiously for the umpteenth time, and see her light up the screen with her mere presence…i still can’t believe the woman i read about in the papers is the same person…
    she changed my attitude towards suicide forever, and today i would never call a person who attempted to take their lives a quitter… for i really believe there is not much difference between us and them… maybe all we did was find a friend in that moment of despair, a tiny ray of hope… all it would have taken to make that beautiful woman live on… her life and her dreams…

    Comment by Reshma — December 29, 2008 @ 10:01 pm | Reply

    • Reshma your comment was truly heartfelt. You come across as a sensitive and compassionate person which is sort of rare these days. Be who you are always but dont let the vicissitudes of life get to you. Life is never fair but is always a teacher and that is all we have to remember. Lets pray Kuljit has dealt with her problems and put them behind her to carry onward to an uplifting level, literally.

      Comment by Kaveetaa Kaul — December 30, 2008 @ 9:12 am | Reply

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